Santiago Ponzinibbio made a statement in the biggest way possible Sunday, taking just 1:22 to knock out Gunnar Nelson in the first round of a welterweight clash that served as the main event of UFC Fight Night 113 “Nelson vs. Ponzinibbio” at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.
During the opening exchanges, Ponzinibbio (25-3) rocked Nelson (16-3-1) with a big right hand and started throwing a combination against the stunned Icelander. A left hand got through and turned out Nelson's lights and Ponzinibbio landed two more punches before referee Leon Roberts could jump in and stop the fight.
Ponzinibbio, who fights out of the Team Nogueira and American Top Team camps, now has 14 knockouts and 20 finishes among his 25 career victories. The streaking Argentinian how now won five straight fights and is 7-1 in his last eight contests. Nelson, who fights under the Mjolnir and SBG Ireland banners, suffered the first stoppage loss of his career and the setback snapped a run of two straight wins and three victories in his last four contests.
Calvillo Records Decision Over Calderwood
Cynthia Calvillo ran her UFC record to 3-0 and remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Scottish veteran Joanne Calderwood in a women's 115-pound contest that served as the co-main event.
After an opening few minutes that saw Calderwood take the center of the Octagon as Calvillo moved to try and change angles and land counterstrikes, Calvillo (6-0) was able to land a takedown and took her opponent's back. Calderwood was able to reverse and get Calvillo to her guard, but the 30-year-old Calvillo snagged an arm and just missed locking on an armbar before the horn sounded to end the first five minutes.
Calderwood, who missed weight by two pounds on Saturday, utilized her kickboxing more early in the second round, but Calvillo was able to score with some punches as she circled away from Calderwood (11-3). Neither fighter showed any inclination to take the fight to the ground, instead choosing to exchange on the feet for the entire round.
The third round was a kickboxing match with both fighters having their moments until the final 35 seconds, when Calvillo grabbed a takedown and immediately got Calderwood's back. The Team Alpha Male fighter fished for a near naked choke and almost had it locked on as the final horn sounded.
Calderwood, who fights out of Tristar Gym, has now lost two straight and is 2-3 in her last five fights after starting her career 9-0.
Felder Continues Hot Streak
Paul Felder (14-3) earned his second straight win and fourth victory in his last five fights by knocking out Steven Ray (21-7) in the first round of their lightweight matchup.
Overcoming a hostile crowd that booed his introduction and was very vocal in its support of the homestanding Ray, Felder landed a big knee in the clinch to drop Ray and landed several shots in an effort to end the fight. Ray, who had a run of two straight wins and seven victories in his last eight snapped, was able to get Felder back into his guard, but "The Irish Dragon" wasn't to be denied, landing several punches on the ground before finishing the Scottish fighter off with a pair of hard elbows. Referee Grant Waterman intervened at the 3:57 mark, giving the 32-year-old Roufusport product the ninth knockout of his career.
Marshman Outpoints Janes
Jack Marshman used timely counterstrikes and harder punching to take home a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Ryan Janes in a middleweight tilt.
Marshman, a Tillery Combat MMA Academy representative, came out looking to land some big strikes and get inside the superior reach of Janes and had some success in the opening round. Janes wasn't to be outdone, though, looking to circle and counterstrike against the Welshman.
The two started the second round much like the first until a combination by Marshman provoked Janes into a takedown attempt. Marshman was able to defend the takedown attempt and clinch against the fence to end the period.
With the fight seemingly in the balance going into the final round, both fighters came out more aggressively. This time, though, it was the 27-year-old Marshman who was circling while Janes was in the center of the Octagon trying to land kicks and strikes. The 35-year-old Canadian was able to use his reach to keep Marshman on the end of his punches and became more aggressive in the fight's dying moments, but "The Hammer" was still able to land some counterpunches and was able to hold on for the win, his eighth in his last nine outings.
The victory allowed Marshman (22-6) to rebound from a second-round TKO loss to Thiago Santos in his last outing at UFC Fight Night 105 in February, while Janes (10-3) has now dropped two straight since putting together an eight-fight winning streak.
Rountree Continues Rebound
Khalil Rountree earned his second straight first-round knockout, needing just 4:56 to finish off Paul Craig in a 205-pound matchup.
Rountree (6-2) -- who had lost two straight under the UFC banner prior to his pair of opening-round stoppages -- was the aggressor from the outset. A southpaw, he kept looking to land a big left hand, but it was a kick that started the sequence that forced referee Leon Roberts to call a halt to the proceedings. Following the kick, "The War Horse" landed a right and a left hook to drop Craig (9-2) before closing the show with five hammerfists to the Scottish Hit Squad product.
The 27-year-old Syndicate MMA representative notched his fourth knockout of his professional career, while Craig has dropped two straight following a 9-0 start to his career.
Willis Shuts Out Mulheron
Justin Willis took James Mulheron down three times and dictated the tempo throughout en route to a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in a heavyweight contest that opened the main card.
The big men spent most of the first round exchanging on the feet, but Willis (5-1) did strike for a takedown and tried to pass Mulheron's guard. However, he was unable to and Mulheron got back to his feet, where they spent the rest of the opening round trading strikes.
In the second round, "The Juggernaut" started getting the better of the standing exchanges before Willis got another takedown. The American Kickboxing Academy product spent the rest of the round working for submissions and landing some ground and pound on the Englishman.
Mulheron (11-2), knowing he was likely needing a finish to win, came out in the third trying to be aggressive, but the southpaw Willis was able to control distance and utilize his reach advantage. The 29-year-old Willis solidified his decision victory by snagging a takedown in the last 90 seconds to earn his fifth straight win in his UFC debut.
Mulheron, also making his UFC bow, had a string of four straight victories snapped with the loss.